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“The Slump” and My Saving Grace

I have something of a confession.

Before the accident that broke my arm, I was going through a bit of a “workout” slump.

I know this is a pretty common occurrence, but what made mine notable is that it lasted for almost a year.

Ever since leaving my much loved gym in Fredericton last April, working out has been a challenge. More of a challenge than it was in the past. Before, I legitimately loved exercise. Working out was my favourite time of day. I had to consciously limit my workouts to 60-90 minutes, otherwise I’d just want to keep going. I had the proverbial fire in my belly about exercise. I mean, it’s why I quit my blossoming career as a radio reporter to become a personal trainer.

And then it just went away. After leaving Fredericton, I stayed with my mom in Moncton for a month. I felt like I was dragging myself to the gym for mediocre workouts every day. I blamed it on my newfound unemployment making me lazy. Or the fact that the gym there didn’t have my favourite classes or lifting equipment.

When I arrived in Toronto in July, I immediately found work as a personal trainer. This had to get me excited about exercise again… right?


It turned it into work. I’m not talking about my sessions with clients, but about my own personal fitness. After a long day of training, the last thing I wanted to do was stay at the gym an hour longer to get my own workout in. Training on the same equipment I worked on made it feel less fun. Not to mention, the gym was far away from where I lived, and getting there was a real hassle when I wasn’t getting paid for it. I hardly ever went to the group fitness classes at my gym because peak class hours coincided with peak training hours.

When I injured my arm six weeks ago, I admit, I was a little relieved by the prospect of not feeling pressured to work out. The only reason why I have consistently exercised during this extended “slump” is to maintain my health and fitness. Because that’s what a personal trainer is expected to do.

It has been 10 months of bored workouts + 6 weeks of complete rest and I am finally, finally, starting to feel enthusiastic about it again. I feel like setting fitness goals again. Like following a training program. Jeez, I could even sign up for a race! I’m starting to get a bit of a smoulder in my belly again. I know it will be a while yet until I’m back in my full fighting form. But I have a lot of hopes for things I’ll be able to do this summer. Activities I’ll be able to do outdoors in the Maritimes – even with my rehabbing arm. First step is getting the okay to run again. I’m going to bug my surgeon about it again tomorrow!

Anyways, it is with this that I bring you my final Toronto brunch.


I only just heard of Saving Grace after it made the #3 spot in BlogTO’s latest Best Brunch in Toronto list. I’d already tried the one and two spots, so I had to round out the top three!


Saving Grace is this reeeeeally small place in Little Portugal. So small they make you wait outside for a table because there’s no room for people to stand in the doorway. It wasn’t that big of a deal on the spring-like day we were there. But that’s not cool in the dead of winter.

We arrived there at 10:30am not knowing it opens at 10am. We had to wait for the first round of brunchers to finish up before we were seated. Rookie mistake!


I of course ordered a coffee right away as my eyes glazed over considering both the brunch menus.



Gah! Fish tacos? Savoury french toast? Poached eggs on lentils? ROSEMARY MAYO??


Roomie Megan went for that last one. More specifically the Old White Cheddar Sandwich: tomato, avocado, lettuce, rosemary mayo, toasted whole wheat raisin bread w/ greens & potatoes.


Roommie Jocelyn went for the two poached eggs with toast, potatoes and greens.


Me? After gathering my wits, I decided on the Corn Pancakes with blueberry maple syrup & breakfast sausages.


Real bits of corn! These were actually very light and not too sweet. Nothing like the dense cornbread I’m used to. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet.


I did love the combo of corn + blueberries. The maple syrup with cooked blueberries was divine.


And breakfast sausage!! I love breakfast links. Preferably when smothered in a healthy dose of ketchup.


I ate the whole darn thing and didn’t even feel that full. Perhaps it speaks to how light the pancakes were. Or maybe it’s just that I’m ready to go pro with brunching ;)

I’m working on a personal Best Of Brunch list and a Best Of Toronto list for next week. But you can always find a list of restaurants visited under the Restaurants tab!

See ya tomorrow with a doc update and some sweet treats ;)

Five Things You Should Probably Know – Round 2

1. I’m sick.


Technically, I’ve been feeling under the weather since I landed back in Toronto. You know, headache, achey muscles. But last night I developed this gnarly chest cough. And today, I started burning up and getting lightheaded. Like all things in life, I am blaming this on Toronto’s public transportation system. However, I suspect the three-day bender I went on in New Brunswick may be the true culprit. Thus, I spent all day in bed.


2. There’s a giant candy bowl in my living room.


I can thank my roommates for this one. Just as I come back to TO thinking “time to get back on the straight and narrow,” I’m met with this. A worthy opponent filled with Lindor Truffles and Icy Chocolate Squares. Touché.  


3. There’s a new workout plan on the block.

Back in the day, I used to share my daily workouts on the blog. But then I got lazy about typing them up. Plus, I didn’t like the idea of people comparing themselves with me. With that said, I do understand that people are curious about what sort of things I do in the gym! In September, I started a new plan consisting of my first ever split. It looked something like this:

Monday: Back/Biceps + 30 min elliptical
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Chest/Triceps + 30 min running
Thursday: Legs + 15 min spin bike + 15 min stair climber
Friday: Shoulders/Abs + 30 min elliptical
Saturday: 5-7 mile run
Sunday: Yoga

I really enjoyed weight lifting so many days a week, and the DOMS was great to boot. But it’s important to change it up and try out new things. In lieu of my Simply Switches, here’s what my new sked looks like:

2 days 45 min full-body weightlifting
2 days 60 min cardio
2 days 60-90 min yoga
1 day rest

As you can see, it’s a lot less intense. On purpose. One reason why has to do with my appetite. It’s been out of control since I started lifting all the time and despite the tough workouts, I was still taking in more calories than I was burning off. I know from past experience that my hunger levels drop significantly when I’m less active. So maybe I won’t always feel like I’m ready to eat my arm off!


4. I suck at crossword puzzles.

No, really. I’ve been doing the one in the newspaper every. single. day. for two months now and I have yet to fully complete one. It is so frustrating, yet I’m so stubbornly addicted.


5. I’m the last person to read this book.


And I read it in three days. I loved it that much. I’m not sure what it says about me, but all of my most recent favourite books have been depressing ones about people dying. Ah well, at least my favourite show is still The Real World.

If you’re one of five people in the world who haven’t read this book yet speak up! I’ll send it to the first person who comments saying they want it :)


Question of the Day: What’s one thing in your life we should probably know? As my gal Holly says, sharing is caring!

Going Zen

I’ve recently made a huge change to the way I work out. Something some people do regularly, something other people couldn’t imagine doing.

As my new boss at the running store put it – I’ve gone “zen.”

In other words – I’ve gone gadget free.

I went through a bit of a crisis when I moved to Toronto. I put on a few extra pounds from travelling and moving. Having previously lost 30 lbs, I know what it takes to lose weight. All I needed to do was track the calories I ate and burned to keep them at a reasonable level. Easy enough, right?

Not anymore.

When I did it the first time around, tracking calories was fascinating. I had no clue what was in the foods I ate until I started doing it. It kept me on track, motivated me, gave me goals to work towards.

But to be honest, I’m kind of sick of being haunted and driven by numbers. How many miles I’m running, how many reps I’m doing, how many calories I’m burning, how many days I worked out this week.

I’m at the point in my healthy living journey where I just want to be. Even more I just want to be normal.

My relationship with food has changed immensely since I began losing weight. I now know that I can’t eat a plate of nachos chased down with a litre of beer several times a week and get away with it. I know it’s better to have more veggies on my plate, and that asking for dressing on the side really does make a difference. I don’t need to track every calorie to be reminded of these things, nor do I need the numbers to inflict guilt on me when I do decide to indulge.

I used to divide my food into a certain number of calories and tally them up in my head. Meals were “x” amount while snacks were always at “y.” Now I eat depending on my hunger levels. If I’m starving at lunch, I eat my meal and afternoon snack. Lo and behold, I’ll be so satisfied I won’t need to eat until suppertime anyways. Funny how that works out when I listen to my hunger cues.

The same goes with exercise. Being a personal trainer, fitness is now my LIFE. I’m in the gym all day and there is no excusing workouts. I find myself doing exercises not only for me, but also with my clients in mind.

Meanwhile, I’m head over heels for yoga and working at the running store has ignited my love for running once again. It’s not about squeezing in a certain number of workouts a week – but just getting them in when I can. I know I’ll never fall off track, so skipping a couple days here and there won’t send me into the same spiral of panic it used to.

Ditching my gadgets has been a huge learning process for me. Not knowing or caring about how many calories I burn in a workout has made my lifting sessions better because I’m not anxious about keeping my heart racing the whole time. Running has become so much more enjoyable now that I’m not beating myself up about my slow pace. I don’t even know my pace. I just go :)

It’s amazing how such a simple change has changed my quality of life. For the first time ever, I feel like a normal healthy person. Eating delicious, nutritious food and being active regularly. Without all the numerical hang-ups. Without a hidden agenda. Who knows if I’ll ever lose my Toronto weight. But for the first time ever I’m making choices based on lifestyle and not aesthetic. Being happy and healthy goes way beyond food and exercise. Now that I’m not putting so much mental energy into those two things, I feel like I’ve really been able to open up in other areas of my life.

So yes, I’ve ditched my gadgets. That’s not to say I’m against them (in fact, I support them in this post). But for me, right now, at this time in my life, I am all about the zen.


**In case you’re behind**
Voting for Round 2 of Project Food Blog is now open!
Click here to read & vote for my Taste of Scotland post.

And don’t forget to check out the other entries while you’re at it :) Thanks a billion!